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ARVC Promotes Summer Camping Video Contest

July 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Deadline to enter video contest is Sept. 5.

When Laura Franklin went to the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Williamsport., Md., she took along her video camera and not only recorded her husband and kids having fun, but interviewed them about what they liked most about the campground they visited.

“They really enjoyed the waterslides,” said Franklin, a Maryland resident and “MommyBlogger” from Better in Bulk.net. “The other thing they couldn’t stop talking about was panning for jewels.”

Franklin also shot footage of her kids playing laser tag and commenting on their rental cabin. With five kids ages 6 to 14, Franklin said Jellystone Park was the perfect place for a family vacation.

“I just enjoyed that we could stay in one place and that the kids could run around like they were at home. We felt very comfortable. There was lots to do, so we didn’t have to travel anywhere else.”

Franklin is one of the first campers to submit a short video in GoCampingAmerica.com’s “Not Bummer Summer” summer video contest and compete for a chance to win a weeklong RV trip to any GoCampingAmerica.com affiliated campground in the United States, according to a news release.

“The only requirement is the video be family friendly, that it capture the essence of having a ‘not bummer summer’ and that it be taken at a campground, RV park or resort featured on the GoCampingAmerica website,” said Kera Tomlin, GoCampingAmerica’s director of marketing.

That’s plenty of venues, considering that more than 3,300 campgrounds, RV parks and resorts are featured on the national travel planning website.

Campers are invited to upload their videos to YouTube and then submit their entry forms along with the YouTube link at www.GoCampingAmerica.com/videocontest. All videos must be taken and submitted between June 1 and Labor Day (midnight Sept. 5).

Video entries will be voted on through the ‘favorites’ option on YouTube between June 1 and Sept. 5. The top two videos with the most “favorite” votes that best depict a “Not Bummer Summer” Camping getaway and most carefully follows the rules and regulations will then be entered into a drawing and the first randomly drawn will be selected as the grand prize winner and the other entrant will be awarded the runner up. The third prize winner will be selected amongst the remaining top five “favorite” votes and entered into a drawing and selected at random. An entrant may recommend to its camping guests, friends and families to “favorite” the entrant’s video on YouTube.

The grand prize winner will receive a weeklong trip in an RV, courtesy of El Monte RV, and free camping at GoCampingAmerica.com campgrounds. Other prizes include seven days and six nights of lodging at any GoCampingAmerica park, a $100 Camping World gift certificate, plus a $100 movie ticket certificate and other Judy Moody movie related promotional items.

GoCampingAmerica.com is promoting its video contest in connection with “Judy Moody and The NOT Bummer Summer,” a movie based on the bestselling book series by Megan McDonald. For more information about the contest, please visit www.GoCampingAmerica.com. For more information about the movie please visit www.JudyMoodyMovie.com

Based in Denver, Colo., GoCampingAmerica.com is the travel planning website of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).

ARVC Sponsors Summer Video Contest

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

In Smokewood Entertainment and Relativity Media’s soon-to-be-released movie, “Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer,” in theaters June 10, a young girl sets out on a quest to make this summer one she and her family will never forget.

The creators of GoCampingAmerica.com are similarly motivated to make this summer a memorable one for families across America, according to a news release.

So, with this in mind, GoCampingAmerica.com has partnered with El Monte RV to co-sponsor the ‘Not Bummer Summer Go Camping America Video Contest’ to find America’s best camping trip video.

“We’re looking for 2 to 3 minutes of your best camping video,” said Kera Tomlin, director of marketing for GoCampingAmerica.com. “The only requirement is the video be family- friendly, that it capture the essence of having a ‘not bummer summer’ and that it be taken at a campground, RV park or resort featured on the GoCampingAmerica website.”

GoCampingAmerica.com features more than 3,300 parks across the United States, most of which are located in popular vacation destinations.

Campers are invited to submit their entry forms at http://www.GoCampingAmerica.com/VideoContest and upload their video on GoCampingAmerica’s YouTube channel. All videos must be taken and submitted between June and Labor Day (midnight Sept. 5).

Video entries will be voted on through the ‘favorites’ option on YouTube between June 1 and Sept. 5. The top two videos with the most “favorite” votes that best depict a “Not Bummer Summer” Camping getaway and most carefully follows the rules and regulations, will then be entered into a drawing and the first randomly drawn will be selected as the grand prize winner and the other entrant will be awarded the first runner up. The third-prize winner will be selected amongst the remaining top five “favorite” votes and entered into a drawing and selected at random. An entrant may recommend to its camping guests, friends and families to “favorite” the entrant’s video on YouTube.

The grand prize winner will receive a weeklong trip in an RV, courtesy of El Monte RV, and free camping at GoCampingAmerica.com campgrounds. Other prizes include seven days and six nights of lodging at any GoCampingAmerica park, a $100 Camping World gift certificate, plus a $100 movie ticket certificate and other Judy Moody movie related promotional items.

“Judy Moody and The NOT Bummer Summer”  is a movie based on the bestselling book series by Megan McDonald and stars Jordana Beatty, Heather Graham, Parris Mosteller, and Jaleel White. The film is directed by John Schultz and produced by Smokewood Entertainment’s Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness. Executive producers are Bobbi Sue Luther and Andrew Sugerman. For more information about the movie please visit www.JudyMoodyMovie.com.

For more information about the contest, please visit www.GoCampingAmerica.com.

ARVC Promotion Targets First-Time Campers

May 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

ARVC initiative gaining traction.

Editor’s Note: The Atlanta Journal Constitution recently published a promotional story about Go Camping America’s camping promotion. The story follows.

Does your family have a couch potato or two? Get the gang outdoors this summer and get into nature with a camping trip.

In an effort to encourage parents to spend more time with their children outdoors, President Obama has proclaimed June as national Great Outdoors Month.

Great Outdoors Month is intended to encourage parents and their children “to move, run, play and thrive” in our state, national and local parks and other scenic places.

In support of the incentive, campgrounds affiliated with GoCampingAmerica.com are offering a 20% savings off their nightly rates on stays from June 1 to 25.

“Camping is not only the most affordable vacation option, but it encourages families to get involved in a variety of healthy outdoor activities, from hiking and fishing to river tubing and white water rafting, or simply playing on a beach,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), which hosts the GoCampingAmerica website.

Many of the campgrounds listed on GoCampingAmerica.com have everything from organized nature activities to outdoor arts and crafts classes, entertainment, games, outdoor movies, singalongs, Karaoke, murder mystery dinners, nighttime scavenger hunts and other fun family activities and special events that help families build memories.

And families don’t even have to have a tent or RV to participate.

Well over half of the 3,300 privately owned and operated campgrounds, RV parks and resorts that are listed on GoCampingAmerica.com offer rental accommodations ranging from safari tents and teepees to cabins, luxury park model cottages, yurts and RVs. Some campgrounds even offer covered wagons, cabooses and tree houses available for overnight stays.

While park model cabins are known for their upscale amenities, including stove and refrigerators, flat screen TVs and, in many cases, sleeping lofts for the kids, most units also come equipped with decks and barbecues. Others are set up on campsites with fire rings, so people can still sing by the campfire and roast s’mores and have a true outdoor camping experience.

Parents with young children also like park models so they don’t have to walk with their children to a public bathroom in the middle of the night.

Here’s a sampling of campgrounds within a tank-or-two drive of Atlanta that have added park model cabin rentals in time for this summer’s camping season:

  • Florida: Davenport, Naples, St. Augustine.
  • North Carolina: Smithfield, Swannanoa, Wade, Wilmington.
  • South Carolina: Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Myrtle Beach, Spartanburg.
  • Tennessee: Blountville, Nashville, Tellico Plains.

One park to consider for alternative lodging is The Great Outdoors RV Nature and Golf Resort in Titusville, Fla. — a great location from which to explore the Space Coast. This RV resort is one of the largest in the country, with 1,534 sites for towable and motorized RVs as well as park models and custom-built resort homes.

But the park also has 3,000 acres of land that are home to native egrets, deer and quail. The Great Outdoors puts a heavy focus on nature, providing habitat areas for numerous land animals and birds, including the colorful “painted bunting,” a rare and stunningly beautiful red, blue and green bird whose habitat has been destroyed in many areas of Florida. The grounds not only preserves habitat for the painted bunting and other species, but recently opened a 2,795 square foot nature center, which provides a wildlife museum, nature programs and hikes. Learn more at www.tgoresort.com.

GoCampingAmerica.com also provides e-coupons that consumers can use to obtain discounts at Camping World (www.campingworld.com) and Coleman (www.coleman.com) camping supply stores as well as RV rentals booked through El Monte RV, which has agreed to provide 500 free miles plus 50 free miles a day to GoCampingAmerica visitors who rent an RV for at least one week during during the June 1-25 period; www.elmonterv.com.

CONY Joins Get Outdoors Month Promotion

May 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Campgrounds affiliated with Campground Owners of New York (CONY) are doing their part to support Great Outdoors Month by offering fun family activities as well as significant camping discounts during the month of June.

“Camping is not only the most affordable vacation option, but it supports a healthy lifestyle, particularly when you consider the great variety of outdoor activities that are available at campgrounds across our state,” Don Bennett, CONY president and CEO, stated in a news release.

New York campgrounds will be participating in GoCampingAmerica.com’s Great Outdoors Month promotion, which involves 20% discounts on camping June 1-25 at participating parks.

GoCampingAmerica.com will also provide e-coupons that consumers can use to obtain discounts at Camping World stores and RV rentals booked through El Monte RV, which has agreed to provide 500 free miles plus 50 free miles a day to GoCampingAmerica visitors who rent an RV for at least one week during the June 1-25 period. The e-coupons will be posted on GoCampingAmerica.com on May 15.

Twenty-five New York campgrounds are also offering a “buy two, get one night free” promotion through Oct. 10. Visit www.ilovenycamping.com for more information.

Meanwhile, 15 CONY member parks are planning special outdoor activities in celebration of National Get Outdoors Day on June 11.

“While June is Great Outdoors Month, June 11th is Get Outdoors Day, and campgrounds across New York are offering numerous activities, from nature walks to scavenger hunts and geocaching events,” said Bennett.

Get Outdoors Day activities can be found at www.GoCampingNY.com.

ARVC Launches Major June Camping Promotion

April 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

GCA online banner

Editor’s Note: The following announcement comes from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).

ARVC is bringing new camping customers and new business to your park with its June campaign ‘Get Outdoors & Go Camping America…It’s Easy!’ June 1 – June 25, 2011. The purpose of the campaign is to encourage young families to go camping during the month of June, Great Outdoors Month, using GoCampingAmerica.com (GCA) coupons for discounts on all things camping; and to document their camping experience on video* for a chance to win a grand prize. PLEASE note that the web promotion page on GoCampingAmerica.com is not active until May 15th.

For more information on the campaign and for a peak at the 20% off GCA park stay coupon, please visit: www.arvc.org/june.aspx

Click here to download an ad to promote the campaign

Click here to download a promotional online banner ad

Click here to download a ‘How-to Info Sheet’ for Your Park Staff

How does the campaign work?

We will be using social media, viral video, marketing efforts and media outreach to drive traffic to GoCampingAmerica.com where consumers can download various offers for discounts on camping. We will be offering a 20% off coupon for all GCA/ARVC member parks. In addition, companies like Camping World, Coleman, El Monte RV, etc. are participating by offering discounts as well. Consumers will be able to download these coupons and try out camping, hopefully becoming repeat customers at your park!

How does my park participate?

Accept and honor the coupon for 20% off your regular night stays during the period of June 1 – June 25. Make sure your staff and employees are aware of the 20% coupon and that they understand the campaign. Please print, post and share this one-page info sheet (click here) with your staff. Your park does not need to tell ARVC that you are participating in the campaign, we assume all parks are participating unless you choose to not accept the coupons. If your park is full during that time, consider offering the guest a time when you could honor the discount. The purpose of this campaign is to bring you new business, and hopefully repeat business!

What are the details of the 20% off GCA Coupon?

The coupon states that it is only valid June 1 – June 25. It also states that it’s only accepted at participating parks (therefore, if your park chooses not to accept the coupon, you are covered) and that the consumer must call the park at least 24 hours in advance to make a reservation. The guest may use the coupon for up to a seven night stay at your park during that time frame, but they can not use the coupon on an existing reservation.

*More information will be available on the video contest portion as the campaign gets closer.

For more information, please visit www.arvc.org/june.aspx or if you have questions, call ARVC at (800) 395-2267

Utah Family Wins GoCampingAmerica.com Trip

August 27, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Tim Anderson has had a tough time selling his wife, Jan, on the merits of tent camping, which he typically does two or three times a year.

But after winning four days and three night’s worth of free RVing through a contest co-sponsored by GoCampingAmerica.com and El Monte RV through OutdoorLife.com, Anderson thinks he’s got a pretty good chance of selling her on the idea of camping in a motorhome, according to a news release.

“I plan to take them camping in Wyoming in late September to see the fall colors,” said Anderson, an Orem, Utah, resident who grew up in Alpine, Wyo., about 30 miles south of Jackson Hole.

Each participant in the online contest was required to write a short essay explaining why they like to go camping. A drawing was held earlier this month and Anderson’s name was selected.

Anderson and his family will camp in a Class C motorhome provided by El Monte RV and stay in campgrounds affiliated with GoCampingAmerica.com, the website of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).

For additional information on the contest, please contact Kera Tomlin at (303) 681-0401.

ARVC Explains How to Become Green-Friendly

April 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Since the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) launched its “Plan-It Green” program three years ago, more than 100 campgrounds and RV resorts across the country have made a formal pledge to adopt environmentally friendly practices, while informing their guests of the benefits of doing the same.

But in an effort to encourage even more parks to participate in the program – and to adopt a greater number of green practices – ARVC has partnered with the Woodall’s North American Campground Directory to formally recognize qualifying parks with a “Green Friendly” icon next to their listings in the GoCampingAmerica.com and Woodalls.com travel planning websites as well as the 2011 print edition of the Woodall’s directory, according to a news release.

“Some parks have adopted environmentally friendly practices on their own initiative, but many are pledging to adopt green building and recycling programs with encouragement from our association,” said Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of ARVC, which currently recognizes green parks with a “Plan-It Green” logo on their GoCampingAmerica.com listing. The association also holds an annual awards competition for green parks.

Profaizer said campgrounds are a natural fit for environmentally friendly initiatives, since most parks are located in scenic locations that encourage enjoyment of nature and the outdoors.

While parks that participate in the “Plan-It Green” program are required to adopt a minimum of three eco-friendly practices, such as offering recycling programs for their guests, planting trees to offset carbon emissions or avoiding the use of chemicals that are harmful to the environment, parks that want to be designated “Green Friendly” through the association’s partnership with Woodall’s must have at least nine of the following 18 criteria:

  • Tankless water heaters.
  • Motion sensors for lighting in bathrooms and clubhouses.
  • Energy efficient light bulbs.
  • Non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products.
  • Water saving showerheads and/or faucets with automatic shutoff taps.
  • Recycle bins for cans, paper, glass and plastic.
  • Energy saving appliances.
  • Eco-friendly and “Leave No Trace” tips and education for guests.
  • Landscaping that uses wood chip, pebble, paved or grass paths to decrease soil erosion.
  • “Reduce Water Usage” signage for guests around the park.
  • One or more of the following: lighting, heaters and/or coolers with timers.
  • Solar or wind power.
  • Low flush toilets or waterless urinals.
  • Grey water access (if allowed in state).
  • On-site organic composting.
  • Email confirmations rather than paper to minimize paper waste.
  • Geothermal heating and cooling.
  • A program for frequent tree planting.

Parks that wish to be considered for “Green Friendly” recognition through the ARVC-Woodalls partnership will be evaluated by Woodall’s representatives who visit their parks during the coming months. Parks that don’t feel they can meet nine of the 18 criteria for “Green Friendly” recognition are encouraged to take ARVC’s “Plan-It Green” pledge, in which parks promise to adhere to at least three of the following eight criteria:

  • Offer recycling to guests and recycle where possible.
  • Avoid using products or chemicals that are harmful to the environment.
  • Evaluate energy or water usage and take steps to conserve.
  • Use energy saving products, such as Compact Fluorescent Lighting or Energy Star products.
  • Offer eco-friendly tips to guests.
  • Offset the park’s carbon footprint.
  • Offer 100 percent green energy to guests.
  • Plant trees to offset carbon emissions.

Additionally, “Plan-It Green” parks encourage their guests to:

  • Respect the natural wildlife, plants and trees.
  • Use non-toxic biological holding tank products.
  • Recycle and properly dispose of litter.
  • Conserve energy and other resources during their stay.

Parks that meet the above criteria and would like to pledge to “Plan it Green” should e-mail Grant Barnette at gbarnette@arvc.org.

Parks not currently participating in any of the above eco-friendly measures, are encouraged to visit ARVC’s “Green Toolbox” at www.arvc.org/planItGreen.aspx. The toolbox also includes a Green Park award application and information on federal tax credits for going green.

For more information about Woodalls.com and the Woodall’s North American Campground Directory, contact Dawn Watanabe at (800) 323-9076, Ext. 618 or e-mail her at dwatanabe@affinitygroup.com.

ARVC Speakers Urge Parks to Step Up Marketing

November 13, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

insites09While there was plenty of good news to share this week at the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) InSites Convention and Outdoor Hospitality Expo in Orlando, Fla., several InSites speakers told park operators they will need to step up their marketing and customer survey efforts if they want to remain competitive and continue to build their businesses in the months and years ahead. They also need to find ways to maximize and improve guest satisfaction.

“I think the industry outlook really looks strong and robust, but challenging,” said Ron Beard, a Texas-based campground consultant. “I think what’s going to happen over the next five to 10 years is, possible, only the strongest, most focused operators are going to survive, at least in the upper tiers of the business. … And those that don’t quite get it … and (haven’t) locked in on how the business works and the expectations of their customers are going to settle down to the bottom of the business, possibly not making it or going out of business.”

The challenge, Beard said, is rising consumer expectations of what a private park should provide. “What used to be OK really isn’t that OK any more,” he said.

Park operators, of course, have a choice in whether they want to provide the amenities and service that growing numbers of campers now seek. “You can capture and promote and exceed those expectations. You can just barely meet them or you can turn your back on them.”

Beard said it behooves park operators and the private park industry in general to figure out where consumer expectations are going and figure out how to meet and exceed those expectations on an ongoing basis.

Jeff Martin, an executive with Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground, said park operators should not underestimate the importance of providing their guests with a positive experience. “At Disney,” he said, “it’s all about service. It’s all about how we make our guests feel. I have guests in my lobby every single day that say, ‘I don’t care that I’m paying $116 a night for an RV site as long as I get the service, and that’s what they want. They want the magical memories that we provide them.”

Martin added that for Disney, the priority is “being able to deliver every single day for every single guest that world class experience they’re looking for.”

Of course, one of the best ways for park operators to hone their expertise in guest experience arena to participate in the GuestReviews online survey program offered by ARVC. This “state-of-the-art” on-line survey service, developed and provided by Murrieta, Calif.-based MacKinnon Campground Consulting, measures 34 different guest satisfaction elements such as site conditions, service, restroom cleanliness, facility appearance as well as their overall camping experience. Survey participants assign letter grades for each survey category, and they will have the ability to type in detailed explanations of problems or concerns.

In addition to participating in the GuestReviews program, Linda Profaizer, ARVC president and CEO, said it’s also important for park operators to update their listings on the GoCampingAmerica website. Several park owners, in fact, acknowledged with a show of hands during an InSites meeting that they had not updated their GoCampingAmerica website listings during the past year.

Profaizer also encouraged park operators to respond to questions they receive through ARVC e-mails from Jeff Crider, ARVC’s publicist, because the information they provide they provide him can help raise awareness about their own parks, while helping raise awareness about camping for the industry as a whole.

Pat Hittmeier, chief operating officer at Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), said private parks also need to step up their marketing to consumers who live within a day’s drive of their parks. In fact, the latest KOA survey found that 57% of campers spend the previous night home, a statistic that not only underscores the fact that more people are camping closer to home, but the relative scarcity of vacation time that Americans have. “They just aren’t traveling as far as they used to,” Hittmeier said.

Redesigned GoCampingAmerica Website Goes Live

October 7, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

gocampingamerica-logoThe National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has completed its long-awaited redesign of the Go Camping America website, the searchable database for private campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across the country.

“We have completely overhauled and redesigned GoCampingAmerica.com to make it easier for consumers to find the campgrounds and RV parks that best fit their needs,” Linda Profaizer, ARVC president and CEO, said in a news release.

The redesigned website, which went live on Monday (Oct. 5), can also be used to book reservations online, includes a “Find Rentals” tab with search functions that make it easy to find campgrounds and RV parks with RV rentals on site as well as cabins, park models, yurts and teepees.

An advanced search function allows consumers to find parks that are uniquely suited for tent campers as well as parks that are big-rig friendly, with pull through sites and 50 amp electrical service. You can use the site to find family parks, pet-friendly parks, age restricted parks as well as parks that offer nude recreation.

The advanced search function also enables consumers to search for parks that offer nearly 40 different types of activities and outdoor recreation, from biking and bird watching to hunting and fishing, golfing and kayaking. Links to information about outdoor recreation, festivals and special events in each of the 50 states are also provided on the site along with helpful information for first time campers, such as “What to Pack” lists and recipes. Links to the state affiliates of ARVC are also provided.

Consumers can also use GoCampingAmerica.com to quickly find parks that are affiliated with major campground chains, such as Equity LifeStyle Properties, Kampgrounds of America (KOA) and Leisure Systems Inc., which franchises Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts as well as parks that offer AAA, AARP, FMCA, Good Sam and other popular discounts.

Profaizer said private park operators should log on to ARVCGateway.com to update their park descriptions and listings of activities and special events so that consumers can easily spot their parks using the website’s enhanced search functions. Park operators should also send photos of their parks and links to their reservation pages to Grant Barnette and gbarnette@arvc.org so that they can be loaded onto the redesigned website.

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